Twelve University of California San Diego professors have sent a letter to California State Controller John Chiang concerning allegations made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and seven other education watchdog groups and pro-Israel organizations regarding San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi’s recent trip to the Middle East.
The scholars say they fear a taxpayer-funded trip that Abdulhadi called a “political solidarity tour,” supported by SFSU President Leslie Wong, is an “abuse of California taxpayers’ money.” The letter warns that “justification of this (trip) as ‘legitimate research’ is outrageous and so broadens the term ‘research’ as to make it meaningless.”
“The letter underscores the fact that allowing public educational funds to be used for political advocacy not only defrauds California taxpayers, it corrupts the very mission of the University,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of AMCHA Initiative, a campus anti-Semitism watchdog group.
Last month, Watchdog.org reported that a California Public Records Act inquiry by AMCHA revealed that Abdulhadi received more than $7,000 from San Francisco State University to meet with members of known terrorist organizations. SFSU offered Watchdog.org a generic response that the university will investigate “any allegations that a member of the University community misused state funds.”